Thursday, January 17, 2013

When a Genealogy Hobby Digs Up Unwanted Secrets

A lot of people research their family trees in the hopes of finding notable and famous people as ancestors. Imagine that Thomas Jefferson, William Shakespeare, or Henry VIII as your ancestors.  However, most of us don't have such notables and instead have ordinary people in our trees. Or, perhaps we have someone of some notoriety? Perhaps Jack the Ripper? Or a thief, or a bigamist?
Below is a link to a recent Wall Street Journal in which genealogists Jean Wilcox Hibben, Ron Arons and others discuss the black sheep in their family trees.

When A Genealogy Hobby Digs Up Unwanted Secrets

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Favorite Books on the Shelf

Happy New Year!
In today's blog, I thought I would share some of my favorite genealogy books that are on my bookshelf. These ones are my favorite go-to books when I need a reference. I've seen quite a few of these sold at conferences and online, and perhaps you have seen them at your local genealogy society library.  This, of course, is not an exhaustive list, but it's a good list of must-haves especially for those who just starting out as a professional genealogist.

1.      The Handybook for Genealogists; Everton Publishers: The first book I bought! I've had a few versions of this book over the years, and it's been a huge help. It's a state-by-state listing of all the state and county offices that you would contact for civil records (birth, death, marriage, divorce, probate, etc.). Includes addresses, phone numbers, and web addresses. A little tip--check the websites for each office for updated contact info especially if you have an older version of the Handybook.

2.      Google Your Family Tree, by Daniel Lynch: My sister bought me this book a couple of years ago, and it still seems to be a hot seller even with all changes that Google goes through. Naturally, Google has been a boon for genealogists. My favorite Google site is the Books section, where you may find hard-to-find journals and books.  I found quite a few references to my ancestors via Google.

3.     Carmack’s Guide to Copyright & Contracts, by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, CG: I bought this book when I enrolled in the copyright class offered by the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGS). I am so glad I did! Copyright laws can be quite confusing, can't they? This book is a gem for genealogists who need some clarity for understanding the issues of copyrighting in genealogy. It doesn't replace a good lawyer when you need one, but it will make your day!

4.      Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian, by Elizabeth Shown Mills: Okay, let's face it--Elizabeth Shown Mills is the ultimate authority on citations. This version is the more simplistic, light-weight version of her more extensive (and popular) Evidence Explained.  I do like the format of this book, as an easy-to-use reference guide to source citation.

5.      Evidence Explained, by Elizabeth Shown Mills: This is THE book for citations, folks. Not only does the book explain (thoroughly!) how to cite your sources, but Mills does a great job explaining every term you need to know in source citations.  It's dense, and not a light read. It's worthy of a workshop course, similar to the ProGen workgroup (see below). A definite must-have!

6.      Professional Genealogy, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, editor: This is also a must-have in any library, especially if you're starting out as a professional genealogist.  Each chapter, written by a variety of professionals, covers all the basics you want to know about contracts, business plans, marketing plans, educational plans, and so on. It's the textbook used by the ProGen workgroups.  I'm in the ProGen 15 group, and I have learned a lot about the business side of genealogy. It's a great foundation for building your business.

7.     BCC Genealogical Standards Manual, by the Board of Certified Genealogists: For those who are yearning to earn the postnomial CG (like me), this is your guidebook. It provides the standards that the Board uses to judge every applicant. It's no easy feat to achieve, but this manual will give you a great start. 
So, what books are on your bookshelf? Please feel free to share your favorites.

Next week I'll be in Salt Lake City attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) conference. I'll report on that when I get back.